Will my auto insurance cover a rented moving truck?

If you're making a big move, you may not be able to cram everything in your car. Instead, you might have to rent a moving truck or van. Before loading up, however, make sure your auto insurance covers the rented vehicle.
Using your personal auto insurance policy

Most rental companies offer extra insurance coverage that you can purchase at the counter. Although you want to make sure you, the rental truck and your belongings are protected, you don't want to pay for extra coverage you don't need. That's why it's important to call your insurance company first -- when you rent a vehicle, some of the protections you have under your personal auto insurance policy will extend to the rental. However, some insurance companies won't extend your coverage to vehicles over a certain weight, which could be a problem with large moving trucks.
The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner recommends asking your auto insurance company the following questions:
  • Will your policy cover you if you injure a pedestrian or another driver while using the truck?
  • Will your policy cover damage you cause to others' property with the truck?
  • Will your insurance cover damage you cause to the moving truck itself?
  • Will your coverage pay for loss-of-use charges the rental company charges you if the truck needs to be fixed and can't be rented out to others?
Things can get complicated if you're asking friends or family to help with the move, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). What if they get hurt while moving boxes onto the truck? What if one of them gets behind the wheel and causes an accident? You'll want to ask your insurer whether your liability coverage extends to these situations.
Getting extra coverage

If you'd like to beef up your insurance coverage, rental companies generally offer two main types, according to the NAIC:
  • Supplemental liability insurance: This covers claims made against you or the moving company because of injuries or damage you cause with the truck.
  • Limited damage waiver insurance: This covers any damage that you cause to the truck so that you don't have to pay for repairs.
Protecting your stuff

Auto insurance generally does not cover most valuables and personal items that you place in the vehicle. The same applies to the belongings you load into the moving van -- while your personal auto insurance may cover the injuries and damage you cause, it won't cover the cost of any belongings that are stolen or damaged during the move.
Your home or renter's insurance, however, would cover personal belongings, even if they're in a moving truck instead of in your home. And the company you rent the truck from may offer supplemental coverage for your belongings. If you're hiring movers, keep in mind that basic coverage for your belongings often is included, according to the NAIC. However, that coverage generally is determined by how much your belongings weigh (not on how much they're worth).

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